This morning, I went back to the Apricorn trees, letting King lead the way. I was able to find some, which was nice. After resting at the pokémon center in Violet City, I spent some time in the morning training King against the wild pokémon on the northern part of Route 32. There were plenty of Ekans about, so most of the fights were basically grappling matches. King was able to learn Bite, at least, which should come in handy.
Thinking that King was strong enough for it, I snuck through Union Cave. As a note, the reception is surprisingly good in there, as Liz called to tell me about MooMoo Milk, which can be obtained at MooMoo Farm. Supposedly, it's quite nutritious, so, if I ever encounter the place, I'll make a point to investigate.
The Apricorns on Route 33 were available, so I harvested them, too. I decided to retreat through Union Cave to heal at the pokémon center, when I was accidentally spotted by Russel, a hiker. As King was in a weakened state, I had Arsonist handle his first Geodude. I sent Scrounger against the second, figuring that he could use some exercise. Geodude's rocky hide was tough to penetrate, especially as it repeatedly used Defense Curl, but Scrounger was able to Bite his way to victory. I used Pitcher against his third Geodude, to play it safe. Russel will apparently be continuing to train in the cave.
I decided, after healing, to take on the other trainers that I had seen. First was Bill, a fire breather. Since King was weakened from wild encounters, I let Arsonist finish off his first Koffing. His second was dispatched out of hand by Togepi. As it happens, there was a Great Ball lying on the ground near him. After I returned to the center to heal my pokémon again, Joey called. He apparently missed an opportunity to catch a Weedle. That made me think to lead with Sting once more.
With Sting at the front of my party, I sought out the final trainer that I'd spotted in Union Cave - though I admit that the cave goes deeper than I'd yet cared to explore. I fought Larry, who claims to competitively collect pokémon, yet had only a single Slowpoke when I went to fight him. Still, I erred on the side of caution and sent Scrounger out in Sting's place. Although his Bite did significant damage, the foe's Yawn had him sleeping. Still, it wouldn't serve to have my entire party asleep, so I pressed on and, as it happened, Scrounger woke up the very next turn, to deliver a devastating Bite. I thought that a Quick Attack would finish the job, but it didn't quite, so I had to give it another one. After the match, Scrounger learned Pursuit, which replaced Tail Whip. I also put King in front, to give Sting a break.
As an aside, Larry mentioned, after the fight, that the roars of a pokémon could sometimes be heard from deep inside Union Cave, but only on Fridays. I may wish to make it a point to return later, on a Friday.
I decided to return to the pokémon center for the evening. On the way back through the tunnel, King got into a wrestling contest with a wile Onix, and learned Glare for his efforts.
Tomorrow, I intend to finally reach Azalea town.